Well, well, well…it appears I’ve been in this amazing country for a little over two months now, which is crazy. Time has been flying, and it feels like I’ve been here for so much longer. And as much as I love it here, I’ve been anxiously counting down to when I get to go home…a little over a month away!
But of course, to keep my mind off my excitement for that, here’s what I’ve been doing:
Segovia and La Granja
A couple weekends ago, I took a day trip to Segovia, Spain with Sam. It was gorgeous! Between the impressive architecture of the aqueduct and the splendor of the Alcázar, my eyes were in heaven from beauty overload. You know, I love the US, but the architecture just doesn’t compare to that of Spain. I could look at the buildings and the castles and the structures for forever. Plus, we got to try cochinillo, aka roast suckling pig. This is a typical dish of Segovia where they literally roast a whole pig and then cut it with a plate. The group found it extremely entertaining to see who got which body parts. I got a leg while some others got ribs or even part of the head with ears! We also went to La Granja and toured the gardens, which were gorgeous in the fall!
Bodega Portia and Lerma
Another day trip in the books this past weekend with Selena! First stop: Bodega Portia, a winery designed by Norman Foster. WARNING: Prepare for more gushing about architecture. This building was amazing! It was built in the shape of a flower with 3 petals. In each “petal,” a different stage of the wine making occurs. Plus, tractors haul the grapes onto the roof of the building to pour grapes into the machines so gravity can do its work and less energy is used. It was fantastic…and so was the wine we got to taste! Of course, they tried to be classy and teach us about color and intensity and when to swirl it and whatnot, but let’s be real, I just wanted to drink it.
After the winery, we headed to Lerma, a little town about 30 minutes away from there. Selena and I met a couple cool chicas and we all got lunch together to indulge on the typical dish of the area: lechazo, aka roast lamb! It was so tender, juicy, and delicious. With our bellies full, we proceeded to take a walking tour of the town. And while it was in Spanish, I found that it’s gotten a little easier to understand. Of course, it helped that Selena translated!
MadrEat Food Truck Festival
So just when you thought I would stop telling you about the food I ate, I have one more food story. This weekend I went to a food truck festival with Minorka and Carolina, and it was so delish. Even though the rain was a bummer, it didn’t stop us from chowing down on arepas and hot dogs and quesadillas! We were stuffed, but it was so worth it. We finished the weekend by seeing Arrival, which was a phenomenal movie.
Some other thoughts…
So I’m not going to spend much time writing about this topic (as everyone has been inundated with too much election information lately), but I would like to make a comment about it. I had sent in my absentee ballot back in early October, and after that, I’ll admit, it was pretty easy to forget about all things election since I was so physically far-removed from it all. But then the election rolled around and the results were announced and I have to say, waking up to the news that I woke up to was devastating. I truly couldn’t believe it and had difficulty keeping my emotions in check when I had to leave for school that morning. Luckily, my co-teacher completely understood and let me take a break from doing calendar that morning so I could get myself together. But the rest of the day, some of the other teachers made comments feeling sorry for me, and it made me realize what a crazy time it is to be a representative of the United States in another country these days. The perception people from other countries have of Americans is not always positive, but I don’t think this election has helped it in any way. I even read a status from someone I met in Porto who is from Morocco that said Trump’s winning of the election meant Americans are racist. It just breaks my heart that I sometimes feel nervous or embarrassed to say where I’m from, simply because I don’t know how that will be perceived. I’m trying to be the best representative I can be, though, despite it all.
And Some Comedic Relief…
The other day, my co-teacher, Anahí, and I were playing a vocabulary game with the 3rd graders. We had them suggest words and phrases they knew/had studied to put in the bucket. Then, she or I would pull out a word and give the students a clue to see if they could figure out the “mystery word.” So the phase I pulled out was, “Going home.” I gave the clue, “This is what you do when school is finished.” Now one student shot his hand up and looked so eager to answer this question. So we called on him, and you know what answer he gave?
That’s right. He literally said 57. Anahí and I did everything we could to hold it together. So again, we gave the clue and called on another student. The new answer?
Guys, you can’t make this stuff up. This is my life as an English teacher.
Proud of: My BFF Chloe on her new job with Steve Madden in NYC! Can’t believe it-you will do amazing things there, I know it! Also, proud of Lush for nailing the full time position at DataCamp. You’re pretty amazing, and I can’t wait to celebrate with you when I’m home!
Thanks to: Lauren’s mom and aunt for treating me to lunch the other day! It was a pleasure meeting you.
Latest purchase (besides food): I finally bought myself some short black boots, considering I (sadly) retired the Chacos for the season. Retail therapy is amazing, people. Though, maybe not for the bank account.
Until next time!